Objective: To investigate the clinical utility and sensitivity of a portable, automatic, frontal quantitative electroencephalographic (QEEG) acquisition device currently in development in detecting abnormal brain electrical activity after sport-related concussion.
Design: This was a prospective, non-randomized study of 396 high school and college football players, including cohorts of 28 athletes with concussion and 28 matched controls. All subjects underwent preseason baseline testing on measures of postconcussive symptoms, postural stability, and cognitive functioning, as well as QEEG. Clinical testing and QEEG were repeated on day of injury and days 8 and 45 postinjury for the concussion and control groups.
Main outcomes and results: The injured group reported more significant postconcussive symptoms during the first 3 days postinjury, which resolved by days 5 and 8. Injured subjects also performed poorer than controls on neurocognitive testing on the day of injury, but no differences were evident on day 8 or day 45. QEEG studies revealed significant abnormalities in electrical brain activity in the injured group on day of injury and day 8 postinjury, but not on day 45.
Conclusions: Results from the current study on clinical recovery after sport-related concussion are consistent with early reports indicating a typical course of full recovery in symptoms and cognitive dysfunction within the first week of injury. QEEG results, however, suggest that the duration of physiological recovery after concussion may extend longer than observed clinical recovery. Further study is required to replicate and extend these findings in a larger clinical sample, and further demonstrate the utility of QEEG as a marker of recovery after sport-related concussion.